In the aftermath of the home draw with Azerbaijan, Stephen Kenny re-framed the 2022 qualification campaign as a transitional one of building for the future. Kenny has gone all-in with the new generation, handing 10 players debuts as well as relying on the younger of those who’d been handed their start in McCarthy’s year in charge. Ireland has quickly gone from a team where the preponderance of players were around 30 or over to one where many are under 23. Two points from five games is certainly pushing the boundaries of what’s considered acceptable, while the most shocking result was a home defeat by Luxembourg. On these visit to Baku, they have problems with absence. Out of the squad due to various reasons are Coleman, Manning, Browne (suspended), and Molumby (suspended). Azerbaijan can be a really hard nut to crack at home, and I’m giving a small edge in their favor.